Nowadays, musicians can easily send their music to the most popular streaming services and digital stores. But, with the ever-increasing number of distributors in the market, it may be hard to pick the right choice.
In this article, we’re going to review two popular distribution services: Record Union and Tunecore. Record Union is a reputable company and has been around since 2008. They offer many growth opportunities for artists such as constant playlist pitching. Apart from supplying releases to all major platforms.
Similarly, TuneCore is a household name in the music distribution business. They are especially known for being an all-in-one solution. Extras such as publishing and social media management are all present in the service.
To help you choose the best option for your particular case, we will also take into account points such as:
- Additional services
- Customer service
Tip: Check out our roundup including the most popular music distributors in our Best Music Distribution Guide.
A Quick Introduction
Record Union has been present in the music industry since 2008. The company distributes music to hundreds of platforms and digital stores such as Spotify, Deezer, and Google Play. Their main appeal is in the low price: only $1.99/month to release unlimited singles and albums.
The distributor also offers several opportunities for upcoming artists to get pitched to popular Spotify playlists and their own weekly updated playlist for new musicians, as we will see in detail below.
TuneCore is a very professional distributor with a focus on offering everything an artist will need in one place. Apart from music distribution, their additional services include publishing administration, social media management, and easier YouTube Content ID integration.
Another great feature is their partnership with multiple useful websites such as Feature.fm and Radio Airplay for promotion, Bandzoogle for creating a professional artist page; And Rotor, an online platform for music video creation.
Tip: Also check how TuneCore performs against Distrokid in our DistroKid vs TuneCore review.
Record Union vs TuneCore – In-Depth Review
Table of Contents
- Which One is Easier to Use?
- Which Has Better Pricing?
- How Long Will It Take For My Music to Be Released on Each Platform?
- Streaming Platforms and Stores
- Playlist Pitching
- Additional Services
- Referral Programs
- Customer Service
Which One is Easier to Use?
Both platforms are very easy to use and have a streamlined process for distributing your songs: you sign up, send your audio track, fill in all the required information and your music will be on the streaming platforms and digital stores shortly.
However, we’ve found the Record Union website to be easier to navigate. Even though TuneCore has plenty of extra features, this may make the experience too complex for newcomers and beginners.
Which Has Better Pricing?
Record Union also offers a 30-day free trial for both Artist and Label plans.
- $1.99/month per artist
- $9.99/month for labels with up to 10 artists
- Pay per release option: $34/year per release
- Free 30-day trial.
TuneCore pricing table.
- Album: $29.99 on the first year ($49.99 on the consecutive years)
- Single: $9.99/year
- Ringtone: $19.99/year
Record Union’s pricing is far less complex and more inexpensive than TuneCore, so we recommend them for beginner artists. It is important to note, however, that if you cancel your Record Union subscription after a while, you won’t be able to collect any royalties.
TuneCore’s higher price is justifiable by the high number of extra services they offer. They are great for established artists looking for an all-in-one solution, but still a pricey investment if you’re on a budget.
How Long Will It Take For My Music to Be Released on Each Platform?
Both platforms will let you set a release date of your liking if you plan it a couple of weeks before. Record Union also offers the option for you to release your music as soon as possible, taking 5 to 6 business days.
TuneCore is fast at reviewing new submissions, with an average of one business day. But, you will still have to wait up to two weeks to have your music online.
When choosing a distribution service to work with, it is important to consider how much they will take from your royalties.
Record Union will keep 15% of the value generated by your releases. The company offers you the option of paying a yearly fee of $25 to reduce the commission to 7,5%. Interesting for established artists who are making much more than that with their work.
TuneCore takes no commission from your earnings, which means you get to keep everything you earn out of your releases. This is in counterpart to their higher prices and continuous yearly fees for releasing music.
Streaming Platforms and Stores
Record Union and TuneCore will distribute your music to all the popular streaming services and stores you can think of (Spotify, Deezer, Google Play, iTunes, etc). Both distributors prefer to focus on high-quality, reputable platforms instead of quantity.
In the case of TuneCore, they’re constantly adding more music platforms to their selection, so you have the option to automatically send your releases to these newly-added services.
Playlists are all the rage. It is one of the main ways for listeners to discover new music nowadays. Many distribution services frequently pitch their artists and offer career-growing opportunities.
With their focus on independent artists, Record Union takes playlist pitching very seriously. The company sends new music to Spotify curators weekly and updates their own playlist every Friday.
TuneCore focuses more on preparing artists for the spotlight through their social media management service and partner websites such as Bandzoogle (website creator) and Rotor (online music video creator). These can be helpful to create a presence online and improve your chances of being pitched to popular playlists.
Being able to monitor in detail how your music is doing is essential. Services such as Spotify for Artists already have their own analytics tools. But, having the stats from all platforms in one place is even better.
Both companies offer plenty of tools to track your streams and downloads. Record Union does focus on simplicity and on stats that are simple to understand. We’ve found the TuneCore analytics tool to be more complete on its reports.
A lot of distribution services offer additional services such as publishing administration. This is the case with TuneCore. Here are some of the extras provided by the platform:
TuneCore additional services pricing table.
- TuneCore Publishing ($75) – Helps you register your songs and collect publishing royalties that may be difficult to come across otherwise.
- YouTube Monetization ($10) – Through this service, the company makes it easier for artists to send their music to Content ID and monetize it.
- TuneCore Social ($7.99/Month) – Social media management tool for artists, offering features such as post scheduling and stats.
Currently, Record Union doesn’t offer any additional services other than music distribution and free playlist pitching.
Are the TuneCore Additional Services Worth It?
It depends on how established you are as an artist and how much of an investment you’re decided to make. TuneCore Publishing may help those who have a constant number of streams and downloads since publishing royalties are difficult to manage by yourself and involve a lot of bureaucracy.
YouTube Content ID is a bit easier to work with, but the company’s services will cut the need for having to manage your releases at many places at once. TuneCore Social is also a great feature but it is worth looking at other social media management options since some may be even cheaper.
Referral programs are a great way to earn a few extra dollars while helping your friends and contacts. Currently, Record Union offers their A&R Program which pays you 7.5% from the sales of every invited artist (paid by the company), as well as gives them a free release and UPC code.
TuneCore Refer a Friend program will give you and your invited artist progressive rewards such as a 20% discount for new releases and a 7% commission over their royalties (paid by TuneCore).
Customer service is a feature often overlooked by many, but it is one of the most important points when picking any service for your career.
Record Union has lots of great reviews on this matter. Their customer service is very fast and supportive. There are two options for contact: via chat through their website on weekdays and via email 24/7.
TuneCore customer service also seems to be very supportive, but currently, they’re only offering the email contact option. If you have a problem, you will have to submit a request and wait a few days until your issue is resolved. This is, in part, because they’re a big company managing hundreds of thousands of artists.
Tip: If you’re a music producer selling beats, check out our AirBit Vs BeatStars. There, we compare both marketplaces in detail and give you a few tips and tricks to help your beat-selling business.
- Low price. Starting at just $1.99.
- Opportunities for upcoming artists and constant playlist-pitching.
- A&R Program.
- Fast customer service, instant on workdays.
- Free 30-day trial.
- High commission – 15% over your royalties or 7,5% if you pay a yearly $25 fee.
- Not many additional services compared to TuneCore.
- Plenty of additional services such as publishing and social media management.
- Partnership with useful websites such as Bandzoogle and Rotor.
- Zero commission on royalties.
- The high price may not be worth it for beginners and artists on a budget. Yearly fees may quickly add up.
- The customer service is slow compared to Record Union. This is due to the large number of artists on the platform and the higher demand.
- No free trial.
Both services will serve amateurs and professionals very well. However, we’ve found Record Union prices to be more advantageous. For $1.99/month (around $23.99/year) you will be able to release as many songs as you’d like.
TuneCore is a bit more pricey: each single costs $9.99/year so the value may quickly add up if you put out lots of music. It’s worth noting though that the company is one of the best when it comes to extra services such as publishing administration.
Overall, if you’re a beginner artist or you’re on a budget we recommend going with Record Union. For established musicians, who prefer managing everything (publishing, social media, etc) in one place and don’t mind the extra investment, TuneCore is an awesome choice.We hope this roundup was helpful. Check out our other music distribution service comparison articles for more information on how to pick the right platform. Feel free to contactus if you have any questions!
Ian Sniesko is an experienced music producer and musician who loves to share his knowledge about the best audio equipment for making and enjoying great music. For the past 6 years, Ian has written extensively about the audio equipment industry and has contributed to many of the top music magazines.